LAIRESSE, Gérard de
(b. 1641, Liège, d. 1711, The Hague)

Allegory of the Freedom of Trade

Ceiling painting
Peace Palace, The Hague

Lairesse's large-scale historical, allegorical, and mythological paintings and grisailles, done in a style that is in accord with the precepts of classical art theory, won wide acclaim. He was called upon to decorate the ceilings and wall panels of numerous civic buildings, palaces, and stately homes. William III employed Lairesse at Soestdijk and The Hague. He can still be seen to good advantage at The Hague; his most famous work, a series of seven large paintings representing actual and mythological scenes from the ancient history of Rome, is at the Binnenhof there, and his allegorical ceiling celebrating Concord, Freedom of Trade, and Security, formerly installed in the home of a rich Amsterdam burgomaster, is now on view in the Peace Palace. One part of the ceiling, which comprised three sections, is illustrated here.